Sheriff finds ways to be more frugal in lean times
Feb 19, 2013 | 1332 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
By Venita Fritz

Tribune-Courier General Manager

vfritz@tribunecourier.com

Marshall County Sheriff Kevin Byars showed up at last week’s fiscal court meeting bearing a gift – a $180,500 surplus from his fiscal year 2012 budget.

“We did some things differently last year,” said Byars. “Basically we worked on keeping a handle on things to make good use of the taxpayers’ money.”

Among the cost saving measures taken by Byars was the installation of a gas pump at the Marshall County Sheriff’s office. He now buys fuel directly from the distributor and deputies fill up at the office rather than at a retail pump.

Byars said the savings amounts to about 30 cents per gallon of gasoline. The pump was installed in September of last year, so the year-over-year savings difference has not yet been realized, the sheriff said.

Conserving that fuel is also a new consideration of the sheriff’s department. Deputies have previously left cars running when they were parked. Byars said now the only car left running is the K9 unit.

Byars said he has also begun to schedule personnel on four-day, 10-hour shifts, which has resulted in a savings of overtime expense. He said prior to this year he did not have enough deputies to go to the four-day schedule.

Less-expensive and longer-wearing tires on vehicles have also helped the bottom line of the sheriff’s department. Byars said he has switched to a tire which wears for 3,000 to 5,000 miles longer than the previous tire.

Grants continue to be a source of revenue for Byars. While much of the grant money once available dried up with the economy, he continues to receive a number of grants which assist in the operation of his office.

One such grant was through the Cops HIRE program which provides about $178,000 over a three year period and allows for the retention of officers. Marshall County’s was the only sheriff’s department in the state to receive the grant last year.

Fiscal court granted Byars’ request last week to amend his budget in 2013 to restore $90,000 for the purchase of three new vehicles. He plans to purchase two new Tahoes and a new Caprice for deputies with that money.

Byars said the $90,000 will cover both the cost of the vehicles and the items to properly equip them.

Two vehicles in the sheriff’s fleet were in line for replacement. A third, the vehicle of Deputy David Maddox, was totaled when he was working an accident last December.

“We hope to have similar results (with a budget surplus) next year,” said Byars. We will continue to look for the most economical way to run the office.”
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